Scientists are hopeful the biocomputer could become a reality sooner than they imagined.
The next big revolution in technology is AI and scientists have already hinted at the future. A team of researchers at Johns Hopkins University has developed organoid intelligence that could lead to faster, more efficient, and more powerful computers than AI does today.
Human brain cells are capable of enabling biocomputers and could exponentially expand modern computing capabilities while introducing a new form of intelligence. Scientists are hopeful the biocomputer could become a reality sooner than they imagined.
What is organoid intelligence?
The researchers described it as an emerging multidisciplinary field that uses human brain organoids and brain-machine interfaces to develop biological computing.
Brain organoids are preferable to conventional monolayer cultures because they can include myelinated axons and display complex oscillatory behaviour in addition to spontaneous electrical activity and high cell densities and layering patterns.
Organoids, lab-grown tissues that resemble fully developed organs, have been used by scientists for decades as laboratory experiments on kidneys, lungs, and other organs have not been conducted on humans or animals. It has been a goal of researchers at Johns Hopkins to develop brain organoids, orbs with neurons and other features that promise to sustain basic functions.
“Biocomputing is an enormous effort of compacting computational power and increasing its efficiency to push past our current technological limits. “This opens up research on how the human brain works. Because you can start manipulating the system, doing things you cannot ethically do with human brains,” Thomas Hartung who is spearheading the work, said in a statement.
In 2012, scientists created functioning organoids out of human skin sample cells that had been reprogrammed to resemble embryonic stem cells. Each of these organoids has 50,000 cells or roughly the same number as the nervous system of a fruit fly.
“The brain is still unmatched by modern computers. Frontier, the latest supercomputer in Kentucky, is a $600 million, 6,800-square-foot installation. Only in June of last year, it exceeded for the first time the computational capacity of a single human brain — but using a million times more energy,” Hartung added.
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